Will 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Get a Season Two?

Despite pacing problems in the first half of the season and on-again-off-again scheduling that has frustrated some fans, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." on Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) ABC has been picking up steam in recent weeks. Its most recent episode, set during the events of Marvel Studios' Captain America: The Winter Soldier, played well off of the events of the film and set up what will likely be the main conflicts in the remaining five episodes.

A few solid episodes and a movie tie-in don't necessarily make a hit show, however, and there is still some speculation as to whether the show will return for a second season. Does it make sense for ABC to bring the series back in the fall, or should it just be written off as a single-season extension of the Marvel cinematic universe?

By the numbers
Even though there has been a lot of praise for this past week's episode, "Turn, Turn, Turn," the show's ratings have never been worse. With only 5.37 million viewers (down from the 12.12 million that tuned in for the pilot and even the 5.71 million that had tuned in the week before), this represents an all-time low for the show despite the episode being a direct tie-in to the hottest movie at the box office. This is a continuation of a slow bleed of viewers that the show has experienced all season, and shows that even an improvement in pacing and a more focused storyline haven't been enough to turn things around.

It doesn't help that the show is scheduled opposite "NCIS" on CBS (NYSE: CBS  ) . While "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." was drawing in its lowest viewership numbers to date, "NCIS" enjoyed over three times as large of a live-viewing audience with 17.39 million viewers. "NCIS" serves as a more natural lead-in to the shows that follows it as well; "NCIS: Los Angeles" enjoyed 14.56 million viewers and "Person of Interest" enjoyed 7.89 million, while "Agents" was followed by sitcoms "The Goldbergs" (4.45 million) and "Trophy Wife" (2.82 million), as well as a re-airing of the fantasy drama series "Resurrection," which only saw 2.17 million viewers. While the Tuesday night lineup on CBS sets viewers up for genre viewing, ABC's lineup is scattered.

Is there hope for 'Agents'?
The real effect of "Turn, Turn, Turn" won't really be seen until next week. If word of mouth brings about a renewed interest in the show, a ratings bump could occur as former viewers tune in to see what they've been missing. It wouldn't be the first time that this happened; after the secret of Agent Coulson's resurrection was revealed in "T.A.H.I.T.I.," the show saw viewership rise from that episode's 5.46 million viewers to the next week's 5.99 million.

Guest stars from the Marvel films can also be a major draw, which is likely why the show has a few more planned before the season is up. Cobie Smulders (who plays Agent Maria Hill in the Marvel films) is set to return in episode 20, while Samuel L. Jackson (who plays Commander Nick Fury) recently confirmed that he was involved in the season finale. These cameos and word-of-mouth advertising resulting from recent plot twists might help boost viewership as the season winds to a close.

Will there be a season 2?
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producers Jeph Loeb and Jeff Bell made it clear that they're hopeful for a second season. Loeb stated that "the fun of being able to tell a story is that for this season, it's 22, and let's hope that we get to tell 100 more," while Bell said, "We can't wait for next season. Here's the thing: Hydra is now loose. A lot of things that we couldn't talk about in the first 2/3 of the season are now our in our world." The interview shows just how much of the first season was building up to the upcoming finale, and makes it clear that there is a plan in place for a second season. Will it ever see the light of day, though?

Most likely, yes. While its viewership has been slipping all season, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is still the strongest show that ABC has on Tuesday nights. Its 5.37 million viewers also isn't that far down from the network's overall average for the week of 6.39 million. It also performed relatively close to other hit shows such as "Modern Family" (which only had 4.79 million viewers) and "Once Upon a Time" (which had 6.68 million viewers last Sunday).

When you add in the cross-promotion possibilities with Marvel films and the fact that the next "Avengers" film is slated to come out when season 2 would be working up to a finale, it's highly unlikely that ABC will cancel "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." this year.

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  • Report this Comment On April 10, 2014, at 3:39 PM, msorrentino wrote:

    Another thing to keep in mind is that some viewers who haven't seen Captain America The Winter Soldier yet may be holding out watching Agents of SHIELD because they don't want to be spoiled.

  • Report this Comment On April 10, 2014, at 4:46 PM, SisyphusRocks wrote:

    Don't discount how many people DVR'ed this episode of AoS because they had not seen Captain America 2 yet. Anecdotally, I know a number of people, myself included, that did exactly that in order to avoid spoilers from the known tie-in. That effect could easily explain a few hundred thousand viewers difference from the prior week.

  • Report this Comment On April 10, 2014, at 7:50 PM, macanoodough wrote:

    I couldnt say if they "should" get a 2nd season.

    But what are they going to do with it?

    LAst 2 weeks only show how miserably they failed all season. They had a story that coulda wrote itself with a great villain concept with multiple twists to set up for the season's Home Stretch and they only spent 3 episodes with this villain as the focal point and 6/7 mentioning him at all before the big reveal.They managed to develop only the Deathlock character and somehow his role is so small in the throws of the revealed plot.

    Then they say they have to keep costs down and not reveal Winter Soldier's plot, but all that could have worked in their favor.

    So the real question is, are they going to give us a Marvel show? or Buffy the Agent of SHIELD?

    Now they have HYDRA, can any more doors open for them?

    If it isn't Marvel quality, it should not be sold to the public.

    And DVR isn't counted for the competition, so why should it matter for them?

  • Report this Comment On April 10, 2014, at 8:00 PM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    @macanoodough

    DVR viewings are counted for every show. When you see "Live+Same Day" and "Live+7 Day" Nielsen ratings for shows, those pluses are DVR viewings.

    Obviously the live viewings mean more for networks and advertisers, but those DVR viewings get counted as well (for all shows).

  • Report this Comment On April 10, 2014, at 8:46 PM, Croaxleigh wrote:

    SuntanIronMan is right; DVR views do get counted. They're reported a week or more behind, though, so I didn't use them in the stats here as the DVR stats for the most recent episode obviously haven't been calculated yet. If the recent trend continues then DVR stats will add around 3 million viewers, though it'll be interesting to see if that number goes up for this particular episode. (DVR numbers have also been dropping over the season, with 7 million viewers recording the pilot and 5.4 million of those coming back the following week. As of episode 15, when live viewership saw a bump, DVR was still dropping slightly and was down to 3.08 million.)

  • Report this Comment On April 10, 2014, at 8:56 PM, delfra wrote:

    I think AOS will definitely return for another season, beyond that depends on the quality of the show and how viewers respond, but if the show follows the recent path it has been on it definitely draw renewed interest in it. There is no doubt that AOS has been a far superior show lately compared to what it was earlier in the season. The key now is to continue to build up on the momentum the show has been gaining lately and continue to deliver strong shows for the last 5 episodes, and I think with each coming week more viewers will return.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 12:28 AM, christopholese wrote:

    keep in mind also that there are those who do not use DVR but instead watch this show OnDemand channels...

    At this point ABC would be total idiots to NOT have a season 2, with as popular as Marvel is within the movie community. But, I still feel that they should step it up a notch or 2 and bring in more of the Marvel Universe villians and heroes even if only a quick cameo as a stronger bonding tie in to the universe as a whole

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 3:32 AM, sithlordsoto wrote:

    Are people like me who watch it on Hulu even counted.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 4:01 AM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    @sithlordsoto

    As far as I understand it, Hulu and OnDemand aren't counted in the Live+Same Day or Live+7 Day ratings (only live and DVR viewings are counted in those).

    But Nielsen does count Hulu and other OnDemand services in the 30 Day ratings (which is essentially Live+7+OnDemand, in which DVR viewings are not counted after the 7th day, but OnDemand services are counted up to 30 days).

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 4:06 AM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    Oh, and the 30 Day ratings also include repeats. So if a network were to show the same episode on TV within 30 days, those viewings would get counted in the 30 day ratings also.

    So the 30 Day ratings are:

    Live+7+Repeats+OnDemand

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 4:11 AM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    And repeats as well. If a network has a repeat of the same episode within 30 days of the original showing, that gets counted in the 30 Day ratings as well.

    So: Live+7+Repeats+OnDemand

    (Pardon me if this is a double/triple post. Other attempts to post this comment resulted nothing.)

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 9:45 AM, HerbieJPilato wrote:

    Just put this show out of its misery (and ours!), and cancel it.

    No one wants to watch it because there are no superheroes in it.

    No one cares about super-power-less agents.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 10:34 AM, Kidnova wrote:

    Why are you focusing so much on total viewers and completely ignoring the 18-49 ratings, which is what the networks really care about? With a 1.9 rating and 6 share amoung 18-49 year olds the show is actually a pretty strong performer for ABC and I don't see any way it doesn't get renewed for another season, especially given the amount of pull Joss Whedon has with the Mousehouse these days.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 10:52 AM, GStrange wrote:

    I'd like a second season, please!

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 10:57 AM, tjanthony58 wrote:

    They need to put it on a different night. They should have never put it up against NCIS

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 11:03 AM, stearnsjp wrote:

    I really hope the show gets a second season. Whedon shows tend to get better as they find their footing.

    Also, am I the only one, or does part of the problem seem to be that the scheduling makes no sense? I think you could probably have a good jump in the ratings by just putting AOS with shows that better appeal to its niche, maybe an evening with Once Upon a Time and Castle? Actually, I think that would be a pretty solid evening. JMHO.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 12:33 PM, thebird65 wrote:

    Of all the comments I have read over this season concerning Agents of Shield, there is one I don't recall anyone pointing out.

    Besides some of the changes to the show format, what about moving it to a new night? Currently Agents of Shield is going head to head with NCIS. NCIS is dominating the ratings on Tuesday nights 8pm slot. Agents of Shield isn't Avengers and isn't another Game of Thrones kind of success show.

    Moving Agents to another night would likely help improve ratings. In turn maybe we'll see an even bigger change in the over all writing and quality of the show.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 12:53 PM, Uptownrich wrote:

    I used ti be a big fan of N.C.I.S. but now I watch SHIELD instead and the rerun of NCIS. Shield and Kimmel are the ONLY 2 shows I watch on ABC. Just remember Execs at ABC what happened to Star Trek!

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 1:15 PM, jimwilson81 wrote:

    I actually like this show. It is showing how human agents are making a difference, not just superheroes. It deserves a second season. If ABC cancels this show, Fox or the CW should pick it up.It is better than some of the shows I have seen.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 2:31 PM, princesslh55 wrote:

    I do agree with "thebird65" about either moving it to a different night or keep it on Tuesday nights and move it to 9:00 pm. The show is getting better. I think the show would do better if it was a not up against NCIS.

    How I Met Your Mother is no longer on on Mondays so there is a possible there.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 2:57 PM, WshflAgentSHIELD wrote:

    I just started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    I never really liked superhero stories and stuff, but my friend talked me into watching the first Captain America movie, and I fell in love with everything so I saw the Ironman movies and Thor movies and then the Avengers. That is where I fell for Agent Coulson, who is awesome!

    When I learned about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I had to check it out.

    And fell in love.

    please ABC don't quit making this show. I love Love LOve LOVe LOVE It!!!!

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 3:13 PM, msorrentino wrote:

    @HerbieJPilato

    Actually, there are people who do enjoy seeing those without powers solving problems in a world full of super powered people. Also, according to your logic then people don't want to see stand alone adventures featuring Nick Fury, Black Widow and Hawkeye all of which have no super powers, they are just highly skilled. In addition, The Dark Knight trilogy that Nolan directed featured characters with no super powers (the Batsuit is not a super power and neither is Wayne's martial arts knowledge), and it did amazing financially.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 6:39 PM, homer813 wrote:

    @msorrentino

    bane had pretty super powers.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 7:12 PM, liebevision wrote:

    They KNEW this weeks ratings will be low because of spoilers with Winter Soldier. It was expected. That's why it went up on streaming faster than normal and why it's being shown again immediately before the next episode.

  • Report this Comment On April 12, 2014, at 1:30 AM, pickingrinnin wrote:

    Being shown at the same time as NCIS is no excuse. Most people just DVR shows when there are conflicts like that, or watch them OnDemand or on Hulu.

    The problem with the show is that they are trying to do a Buffy-style secret agent show with an (evidently) low budget and cardboard characters. That alone is bad, but when you combine it with the fact that it's set in a superhero universe and they go out of their way to avoid showing any superheros and you have a recipe for failure.

    The show isn't good enough to be of interest to people who like secret agent and/or thriller shows. There aren't enough superheros to make it attractive to people who like superheros. Viewer response reflects this.

    The producers want to have a show set in a superhero universe that is about non-superpowered people. That's all fine and good, but if you can't find enough other people who want to see that, the show won't do well. It's like saying "we want to do a Western set in New Hampshire." If you don't have some really good storytelling in place, it isn't going to fly.

    They need to do one of two things: start having superhero appearances, or end the show.

  • Report this Comment On April 12, 2014, at 1:32 AM, pickingrinnin wrote:

    "Actually, there are people who do enjoy seeing those without powers solving problems in a world full of super powered people."

    There are some, but not enough to keep the show going if their ratings continue to drop.

    To make something like that work, you need really good plotting, storytelling, and acting. This show has none of those things.

  • Report this Comment On April 12, 2014, at 2:17 PM, esxokm wrote:

    I think Disney should keep the show going just for the sake of promoting the Marvel universe. I don't watch the show or the movies, but it seems to me that having an advertisement on ABC for Marvel is important to the overall strategy.

    However, what ABC should demand is lower production costs. If that means getting cheaper thespians, so be it. Recast if necessary.

    Another option might be to put it on ABC Family. Perhaps it could take more chances with its look and storylines if that platform was utilized.

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